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Culture evolves

Event

Starts:

June
282010

09:00

Ends:

June
302010

17:00

Location

The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG

Overview

Organised by Professor Andrew Whiten FBA, Professor Robert Hinde FRS, Professor Christopher Stringer FRS and Professor Kevin Laland

The capacity for culture is a product of biological evolution - yet culture itself can also evolve, generating cultural phylogenies. This highly interdisciplinary joint meeting with the British Academy will address new discoveries and controversies illuminating these phenomena, from the roots of culture in the animal kingdom to human, cultural evolutionary trees and the cognitive adaptations shaping our special cultural nature.

This meeting is part of See Further: The Festival of Science + Arts, celebrating 350 years of the Royal Society. This unique ten-day festival filling every corner of London’s Southbank Centre, features the Royal Society’s annual Summer Science Exhibition and a host of cross-disciplinary collaborations, including music, dance, comedy, discussion, film, literature and art.

The proceedings of this meeting have now been published in a dedicated issue of Philosophical Transactions B.

Event organisers

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Schedule of talks

Session 1

8 talks Show detail Hide detail

Welcome by Stephen Cox

Mr Stephen Cox

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Welcome by Robin Jackson

Robin Jackson

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Overview by Andrew Whiten

Professor Andrew Whiten FBA, University of St Andrews, UK

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The costs and benefits of social information use: an appraisal of current experimental evidence

Professor Luc-Alain Giraldeau

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From fish to fashion: experimental and theoretical insights into the evolution of culture

Professor Kevin Laland, University of St Andrews, UK

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The role of cultural transmission in shaping a species’ ecological niche: cross-fostering experiments with titmice

Professor Tore Slagsvold

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Cultural transmission and the development of individual and group behaviour in mammal societies

Dr Alex Thornton

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Session 1 General Discussion

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Session 2

5 talks Show detail Hide detail

Social traditions in wild white-faced capuchin monkeys, Cebus capucinus

Professor Susan Perry

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Orangutan culture and its cognitive consequences

Professor Carel van Schaik

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The scope of culture in chimpanzees, humans and their last common ancestor

Professor Andrew Whiten FBA, University of St Andrews, UK

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Social learning co-evolves with primate brain enlargement and general intelligence

Dr Simon Reader

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Session 2 General Discussion

Session 3

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On the origins of early stone tool technologies

Ignacio de la Torre

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Cultural and cognitive aspects of the million-year-long Acheulian industry

Professor Naama Goren-Inbar

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Stone tool-making and the evolution of human culture and cognition

Dr Dietrich Stout

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Evolution, revolution or saltation scenario for the emergence of modern cultures?

Professor Francesco d'Errico, Bordeaux University, France

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Session 3 General Discussion

Session 4

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The evolution of human cultural diversity

Dr Marta Mirazon Lahr, University of Cambridge, UK

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Descent with modification and the archaeological record: micro-scale processes and macro-scale outcomes

Professor Stephen Shennan FBA

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Cultural evolution in socio-political institutions

Professor Ruth Mace FBA

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Language evolution and human history: what a difference a date makes

Professor Russell Gray

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Session 4 General Discussion

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Session 5

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Culture evolves: natural selection and word evolution

Professor Mark Pagel FRS, University of Reading, UK

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A reassessment of the impact of risk on hunter-gatherer toolkit diversity and complexity

Dr Mark Collard

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On the nature of cultural transmission networks

Dr Joe Henrich

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The evolution of cultural transmission rules: insights from a social learning strategies tournament

Dr Luke Rendell

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Culture evolves The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK